Just this week, I wrote about Google’s move to rename home-bound devices under the Nest brand and, honestly, I think it’s a move that makes a ton of sense. After all, if they are going to retain Nest in their branding, they needed to go all-in on it. Yet, it seems there might be a bit of backpedaling on that if recent reports from 9to5 Google and Android Police are anything to go by. If accurate, there’s a chance we might be seeing a revamp of the 2016 Google Wi-Fi and it may keep that naming, too.
At their event last year, Google unveiled the excellent and expensive Nest Wi-Fi along with the accompanying Nest Wi-Fi Points. The system works well, is fully integrated into the Google Home app (as is Google Wi-Fi now), and gives users extra Google Assistant access on each of the Points that are set up in the home. It’s pricey, but it works very well.
It would seem Google may be ready to offer a cheaper alternative, however, and it could come via a small refresh to the original Google Wi-Fi. Android Police reports that internal sources are referring to this new device as Google Wi-Fi 2020, but that may or may not be the branding Google chooses to go with.
More importantly, 9to5 Google reports that hints of this new router can be found in the code for the Google Wi-Fi app, referring to the new device as ‘Breeze.’ This naming lines up with other Google routers that go by wind-related code names as well: ‘Whirlwind’ is the TP-LINK OnHub, ‘Gale’ is the Google Wifi, ‘Mistral’ is the Nest Wifi, and ‘Vento’ is the Nest Wi-Fi Point. ‘Breeze’ also carries a similar model number (GJ2CQ) to other Google devices set to be revealed at next week’s hardware event.
Upon even deeper inspection, the Google Home app has a bundled animation to help users understand how to hook up and begin using the new router. At first, this looked like a carry-over from the original Google Wi-Fi, but as Android Police noticed, the power slot and reset buttons are in different places when comparing this animation to the original Google Wi-Fi. See for yourself:
Finally, it was also revealed that both Walmart and Home Depot had now-removed listings for the Breeze wireless adapter and both had the price set to $99.99. While this price could fluctuate, if accurate, it could point to Google wanting to offer its very excellent Wi-Fi solutions to users at a much more agressive price point. I still use the original Google Wi-Fi at home and can attest to how solid, fast, and reliable the router is on a day-to-day basis. A slight refresh of an already-great product is never a bad idea, right?
So many questions
Still, this feels like a really odd move, doesn’t it? Why go back to this pre-Nest style? Assuming this router will act as both router and mesh point like the original, why would users choose to buy the Nest Wi-Fi or Nest Wi-Fi Point? People have Home Minis laying around all over their homes thanks to bundles and crazy deals on the miniature speaker, so the addition of yet another Google Assistant in the house isn’t a huge selling point for most. And if they do go with Google Wi-Fi, what sense does that make? Why would they not re-brand with everything else?
Unfortunately, I have none of the answers to any of those questions right now. I’m hopeful that Google will bring this device along to their hardware event on September 30th, but even that isn’t for sure at this point. I think a new $99 router from Google sounds great, but I just can’t see where it fits right now. Like the upcoming Pixel phones, I suppose we’ll see when we get them exactly how it is Google plans to put all of this together.